Asia - Pacific

Indonesia: Sumatra smog forces schools to close

Locals are told to wear masks when leaving the house and limit time outdoors due to continuing fire smog

Nicky Aulia Widadio,Erric Permana   | 10.09.2019
Indonesia: Sumatra smog forces schools to close

JAKARTA, Indonesia 

Thick haze blanketing parts of the Indonesia island of Sumatra in the past few days due to ongoing forest and other fires has led to local schools cancelling classes, said officials on Tuesday.

The haze is caused by smog moving from hotspots in the central and southern parts of the island of Sumatra due to southwest monsoon winds.

Jim Gafur, head of the Riau Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), said through Tuesday the air quality in parts of Riau was considered unhealthy.

"We advised residents to wear mask every time they leave the house," Gafur told Anadolu Agency.

The governor of Riau instructed schools to cease activities, and residents were advised to reduce time outdoors.

The visibility in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau, was down to just one kilometer due to the thick haze, but flights at Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport have reportedly kept on schedule.

Bachyuni Deliansyah, chief executive of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) in Jambi in central Sumatra, said that Jambi’s air quality remained in the moderate range, with a maximum visibility range of 8,000 meters.

"The air quality is deemed safe. However, the city government halted school activities after proper consideration,” he added.

* Maria Elisa Hospia contributed to this story

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